Q&A With CDPH Doctor On Moving To Phase 1C, COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution In City

CBS 2's Irika Sargent and Brad Edwards discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with Chicago Department of Public Health's Dr. Ajanta Patel.

Video Transcript

IRIKA SARGENT: Joining us for the next 25 minutes, Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease specialist from the University of Chicago, and Dr. Ajanta Patel from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

BRAD EDWARDS: Yeah. Doctors, thank you. Dr. Patel, let's start with you. Many of those Dorothy spoke to are essential workers in either 1A or 1B. So how are we going to move to the next phase if so many in those categories are still either hesitant or just can't get appointments?

AJANTA PATEL: Well, it's great to be here tonight, guys. We're really excited to move into phase 1C. So many people have been waiting for this moment. And we really notice that these are communities that peo-- in which people are still really needed. We need our essential workers to get back to their frontline roles. We need them to not feel hesitant.

So yes, vaccine doses are in short supply. We are still facing that, you know, queuing up. We are still noticing that people feel like they can't get the appointment they want when they want it. But the main messages here-- it is your time, and you'll be able to sign up and get registered soon.

IRIKA SARGENT: Well, Doctor, we also asked our viewers questions, and they did respond here. So Janette wants to know, how are you reaching out to seniors who aren't on the internet-- internet savvy-- and don't necessarily live in underserved areas?

AJANTA PATEL: Absolutely. The city has done a lot of work to try to reach seniors. So we had a special senior week earlier this month that went into several communities across Chicago in our Protect Chicago Plus plan. Seniors are being reached in their communities, in local centers, by community partners in order to make sure they get vaccinated. The United Center is open to seniors 65 and up.

And there is a phone number. You can find that phone number on our website, char.gov/covidvacc. And that phone number is open during the day and until 4 o'clock on Sundays. And that phone number is available for anyone who doesn't feel comfortable using the internet.

So there have been a lot of efforts to reach seniors in ways that are accessible to them. There's also a homebound program now that you can sign up for on our website, char.gov/covidvacc, if you cannot leave your home.

BRAD EDWARDS: OK. We have all that, too, at cbschicago.com. Dr. Patel, Helen Rogers, a viewer, who wants to know why the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the least efficacious yet, the only one-shot vaccine-- why the J&J vaccine isn't being offered in Chicago.

AJANTA PATEL: The J&J vaccine is being offered in Chicago, but a lot of the availability of your vaccine in the-- in the center closest to you has to do with the federal pipeline. So the federal government supplies several pharmacies across Chicago, federally qualified health centers, and the-- and the United Center with its vaccine supply. The city of Chicago gets its own vaccine supply. And so those pipelines may be different.

There is currently J&J vaccine floating around Chicago, but it is dispersed in different centers. For example, we have it at O'Hare Airport for our airport essential workers.

IRIKA SARGENT: All right. Dr. Patel with the City Department of Public Health. Thank you so much for your time.